Review: Ageless

A girl lives on the run from the US government after being rescued from a Nazi eugenics laboratory. All the while, she considers if being nearly immortal is a blessing or a curse. That is the basis of Ageless by Paul Inman.

ageless-review

From Goodreads:

Imagine that you never aged that you would forever remain young and vital, impervious to the ravages of time. For Alessandra, a woman whose genetic code keeps her eternally young perhaps even making her immortal this fantasy is a reality. But it s not as
idyllic as it seems.

Her rare condition only leaves her feeling isolated and strange, fearful of what her circumstances really mean for her future. And Alessandra has every reason to be afraid. After many years in captivity as the subject of Nazi scientist experimentations in an underground lab, she s haunted by the memories of her exploitation and desperate to keep her identity a secret. This proves to be exceptionally difficult when impassioned CIA agent Mark Richards develops an unhealthy obsession with capturing her.

“Ageless” is a thrilling journey that spans decades and asks the question: If you could live forever, would you want to?

Basic plot of Ageless

How would it feel to practically live forever? Would it be as good as we always think it would be? Alessandra was taken to a Nazi laboratory as a young child where they studies eugenics. What they were really doing is taking children and trying to find ones that have “something more” that would help  them build a better human. Alessandra was one of the golden children as she had the genetic makeup to not only heal quickly, but aged very slowly.

When Allied forces overrun the compound, Aless was left by the researchers. American soldiers found her and put her on a plane to the US. Unfortunately for Aless, her “condition” is found out on the plane ride when she strikes her head and it healed nearly immediately. Of course, the Americans wanted to know how she’s does it and she was soon destined for a lab again. At the airport, she escapes and lives on the run.

The story jumps back and forth between decades as we see Aless at different points in her life. We also meet another child, Eugene, of the lab, both during his time at the lab, and after he has escaped and is living in the US.

We hear very little of her first years in the US until she lands in Kansas and befriends a woman who teaches her English and allows her to have a safe place. Aless continues to grow but she knows she is hunted by the someone in the government. After her caregiver dies, she continues to live on the run and never trusting anyone, until she meets Grey. Her run in with Grey, and their continued relationship, is part of the reason the climax of the story comes to pass.

The climax of the story happens when Aless finally comes face to face with the CIA agents that have hunted her all her life. And the final question is this, is it worth it to be able to live forever?

Review of Ageless

I wanted to like Ageless, I really did. It is an interesting storyline. A young girl that ages very slowly and can heal instantaneously is part of a Nazi experiment. She lands in the US and spends her long life on the run. But what bothers me about Ageless is the execution.

The story jumps through the decades, and while it does a fairly good job of setting up where you actually are, I’m just sick this type of plot sequence. It makes the story feel choppy when it doesn’t need to. There was also parts that seemed completely unnecessary.  An entire chapter is dedicated to Aless and Grey volunteering in New Orleans after a hurricane. There was no point to that entire section to the overall storyline.

The other issue I had in regards to the storyline was Eugene’s. While he did play an impactful part in the storyline, his backstory got a lot of time when it just didn’t seem needed. We not only heard about how he ended up at the same lab as Aless, but also the entire sequence of events when he “manifested” his powers. His were different than Aless, but still a huge “success” for the Nazi scientists. Then we heard about all about the testing he went through after. It just seemed that the entire sequence was a little much for the story. While it helped us see how Eugene ended up as he did, I think the entire sequence had a bigger role. It set up the big, bad guy at the end of the story. But it still seemed like overkill.

One other thing that bothered me. Aless knew the US government was hunting her. So why didn’t she just leave? At one point, she did go to Europe, but that was a footnote in the story. She had plenty of money, just leave! At least that way she wouldn’t have to be looking over her shoulder quite as much. There was nothing really holding her in the US, so why stay?

Finally, the ending had me scratching my head. In a bad way. The big bad guy is set up in Eugene’s chapters. But we don’t really realize he is the bad guy until the epilogue. And it just felt like a “gotcha” moment. Not in a good way gotcha either.

There are good parts to Ageless. I found the entire climax sequence fascinating. We see a woman who looks to be in her 20s, but is really in her 70s, truly examine her quality of life. Is it really worth it to be practically immortal when it comes with all the baggage?

Overall rating of Ageless

3 out of 5 stars – not terrible, but not great
c/o Netgalley

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